Deer season opens in Maryland

November 26, 2011|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD |
  • Mike Fazenbaker, an area manager for Maryland Department of Natural Resources, checks in a freshly killed doe Saturday at Holsinger's Meat Market in Maugansville.
By Kevin G. Gilbert/Staff Photographer

The freshly killed deer were piled up outside the "barn" at Holsinger's Meat Market Saturday, the first day of rifle season for deer in Maryland.

By 2 p.m., business along Maugans Avenue had received more than 60 deer to be processed, Richie Holsinger said.

The buck with the largest spread of antlers to arrive by 2 p.m. was an eight-point from Montgomery County, Md., that was being skinned by Rob Allen, Holsinger's brother-in-law.

"If they're not family (working here), they're close friends of the family," said Holsinger, who is the sixth generation in the family-owned business.

And during deer season, the busiest time for Holsinger's, more family members help out.

"They come in and work on their time off — some take vacation from their (regular) job and come here," Holsinger said.

A deer shot Saturday by Charles Shirley Jr. of Hagerstown was destined to be turned into deer chipped ham, jerky, steaks and more.

"You cannot beat (the ham)," Shirley said after finalizing butchering arrangements with Holsinger.

A lifelong hunter, Shirley said he shot his deer Saturday around 10 a.m. on South Mountain with the same Remington rifle that his grandfather and father used to kill dozens of deer tracing back to the 1950s.

"It never suffered one second," Shirley said after pointing to where the gunshot exited in the area of the young doe's front shoulder.

Matt Koebel, 18, of Funkstown, said he also shot his deer, a 130-pound doe, on South Mountain.

Home on break from the University of Maryland where he's majoring in finance, Koebel said he was sitting for a few hours before he spotted five does.

"I had to take what I could get, so I couldn't really wait too long," Koebel said.

Kevin Grimm of Hagerstown said he shot his eight-point buck in a field on privately owned farmland in Frederick County, Md.

Hunting since he was 11 years old, Grimm said the buck wasn't the biggest deer he has ever killed and might not be the last this season.

Grimm went hunting with his father, Dave Grimm, who smiled when he said he acknowledged he didn't kill anything and only got "to walk through the woods and work up a sweat."

While Shirley did not plan to return to the woods Saturday, Holsinger said some hunters hunt all day, dropping off deer throughout.

Amid the flurry of activity, Maryland Department of Natural Resources area manager Mike Fazenbaker was gathering data, including the diameter of the bucks' antlers to  track the health of the deer herd.

DNR officials also have been monitoring chronic wasting disease, a fatal neurological disease that has been found in one white-tailed deer in Green Ridge State Forest in neighboring Allegany County, Md., according to the agency.

The deer in question was harvested last season and the DNR received a positive laboratory confirmation in February, according to the agency.

With the positive test, the DNR said in February that Maryland joined 20 other states and Canadian provinces with CWD documented in deer, elk or moose.

The DNR advises hunters not to consume meat of sick animals and avoid contact with the brain, spinal column or lymph nodes of deer.

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